Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's All About The Dress

The call comes in from a woman who found me on the internet, they are having a birthday party, not too large, at their property in my neck of the woods, and can I come and meet them? No problem.

As I make the turn into their property I realize this is going to be a joy, and then I meet the clients, Jeff & Julie. Now I know it is going to be a rare treat. Their property is huge by anyone’s standards and they are this generations caretakers in a most grand fashion. Creating organic and sustainable gardens, keeping bees and going geo-thermal to be off the grid. Chickens, dogs, beekeepers, gardeners, landscape designers, the property is a bucolic hive of activity.

Our hostess, Julie found a dress in Europe, a perfectly girly girl dress that inspired not only having the party, but the party. In our discussions a budget was set, a generous budget in this economy but we had a great deal to accomplish and concessions were still made. The biggest three decisions were the DJ, it had to be someone who knew all types of music as this was a well traveled crowd, there had to be a rocking bar with a signature cocktail and the d├ęcor had to enhance the property and be a backdrop to “the dress”. Food was important but came 4th on the list. I mention these points because when you are planning where to spend your money, your priorities need to be in place, like life.

In creating the tent, our first choice was to create a South Beach Lounge, till the price tag came in. No matter how I tried to tweak that idea it came in at too much money. We opted for tall and short cocktail tables, everything in white. We wrapped the tent poles in satin and using spray glue and “fairy dust” glitter, gave them a shimmer that candlelight would catch. We had strand lights on a dimmer around the interior perimeter of the tent and the DJ brought dance lighting with him to create a disco ambiance that had guests dancing well into the night. The barn, had exterior lighting that supplied enough light for all to move around safely. Their landscape designer had recently completed lighting that area of the property so the garden, certain trees and the pond which also pulled guests here and there to enjoy the full setting.

For the center of the tables we took purple cabbage leaves, phlox, hydrangea and other flowers from their own gardens, judiciously sprayed the glue on the half the leaf with the stem are threw fairy dust at that. These larger leaves became the anchor with the dusted hydrangea in the hostesses own crystal glasses, votives, glass beads and flowers tucked here and there. Paper party poppers were also strewn about to entertain the children and lend a quirky touch. The actual cost was minimal; using their own items gave a more personal feeling to the evening and kept much needed money in the budget for their key areas.

I found a recipe for a Honeyed Cosmopolitan which worked their newly developed hives into the party which was a smash but I think Champagne with Chambord and Blackberries was the elegant drink of choice. Guests nibbled on our seasons’ favorite, the satay garden, with the barest of passed hors d’ouvres which kept the labor to a minimum.

Choosing your planner is key to accomplishing your catering and event goals. We were willing to take on more work to help the client achieve their goal of a memorable evening. A comment we continually heard from this well heeled group was one of amazement “How did you find someone who knew what to do UP HERE?”

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